George Macaulay Trevelyan OM CBE FRS FBA (16 February 1876 – 21 July 1962), was a British historian and academic. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1898 to 1903. He then spent more than twenty years as a full-time author. He returned to the University of Cambridge and was Regius Professor of History from 1927 to 1943. He served as Master of Trinity College from 1940 to 1951. In retirement, he was Chancellor of Durham University.
Trevelyan was the third son of Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet, and great-nephew of Thomas Babington Macaulay, whose staunch liberal Whig principles he espoused in accessible works of literate narrative avoiding a consciously dispassionate analysis, that became old-fashioned during his long and productive career. The noted historian E. H. Carr considered Trevelyan to be one of the last historians of the Whig tradition.
Many of his writings promoted the Whig Party, an important aspect of British politics from the 17th century to the mid-19th century, and its successor, the Liberal Party. Whigs and Liberals believed the common people had a more positive effect on history than did royalty and that democratic government would bring about steady social progress.
Trevelyan’s history is engaged and partisan. Of his Garibaldi trilogy, “reeking with bias”, he remarked in his essay “Bias in History”, “Without bias, I should never have written them at all. For I was moved to write them by a poetical sympathy with the passions of the Italian patriots of the period, which I retrospectively shared.”
Books in order of publication:
- England in the Age of Wycliffe, 1368–1520 (1899).
- England Under the Stuarts (1904). Covers 1603 to 1714.
- The Poetry and Philosophy of George Meredith (1906).
- Garibaldi’s Defence of the Roman Republic (1907). This volume marks the entry of a new foreign historian in the field of Italian Risorgimento, a period much neglected, or, unworthily treated, outside of Italy.
- Garibaldi and the Thousand (1909).
- Garibaldi and the Making of Italy (1911). ISBN 978-1-84212-473-4
- The Life of John Bright (1913).
- Clio, A Muse and Other Essays (1913).
- Scenes From Italy’s War (1919).
- The Recreations of an Historian (1919).
- Lord Grey of the Reform Bill (1920).
- British History in the Nineteenth Century, 1782–1901 (1922).
- Manin and the Venetian Revolution of 1848 (1923).
- History of England (1926; 3rd edition, 1945).
- England Under Queen Anne (3 vols.) (1930–4) His magnum opus in 3 volumes: “Blenheim” (1930), “Ramillies and the Union with Scotland” (1932), “Peace and the Protestant Succession” (1934).
- Sir George Otto Trevelyan: A Memoir (1932).
- Grey of Fallodon (1937).
- The English Revolution, 1688–1698 (1938).
- A Shortened History of England (1942).
- English Social History: A Survey of Six Centuries: Chaucer to Queen Victoria (1942 US and Canada, 1944 UK).
- Trinity College: An Historical Sketch (1943).
- An Autobiography and Other Essays (1949). A Layman’s Love of Letters (1954).